The Reality of Foster Care

Disclaimer before you read:

I have wore many hats during my adult life. I began college in 1998. While attending college and after graduating, I was a teacher in daycares, public schools, a private school, and in many different church programs including an addiction program. After teaching for 6 years, I became a developmental specialist through an early intervention program. In recent years, I have taken hours of foster care training. I am now a foster parent and have been for nearly 3 years. I know a lot of foster parents. I am an adoptive mom and also know a lot of adoptive mothers. I was a NICU mom with two babies born two years apart who were in the NICU due to complications out of my control. Each night, I would listen to the babies in the rooms next to mine scream from withdrawals. It sounded like the worst horror movie that you could ever listen to. The examples listed below are from real life experiences, but I will never disclose which experiences they came from. There are many more horrific stories that are too graphic to share. But, I want nothing more than to protect all of the children I have met in every situation that I have been in. Thanks for understanding!

⭐Foster care is unfortunately needed in this country. It is unfortunate that children are removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect in order to save their lives. The tragedies that these children suffer from are unfortunate.

It is unfortunate that a child, as she peeped through the crack in the bathroom door, witnessed her parents snort white powder up their noses. It is unfortunate that a child hid as his father abused his mother many times because he was so messed up on drugs and was angry. It is unfortunate that a child witnessed her father choke her mother and then watched as he pushed her down a flight of stairs.

It is unfortunate that a child watched her mother shoot “something” in her father with a needle and then saw her father shoot “the same something” in her mother with the same needle while she was pregnant. It is unfortunate that the child watched as those same parents flopped around and acted all crazy after they were finished using those needles. It is unfortunate that the child continues to worry as her mother suffers from hepatitis because of those needles. It is tragic that the same child watched as her mother nearly died from drug overdoses and had to be brought back to life as another needle was being stabbed into her body.

It is unfortunate that any child stood by as her father took soap and a t-shirt from the store for her mommy. It is unfortunate that the same child steals because that’s all she has ever known.

It is unfortunate that a child continues to fight fear at night because he was allowed to watch horror movies at a very young age. It is unfortunate that a fort is built for protection because he sees people from the movies as he attempts to fall to sleep. It is unfortunate that the same child is on powerful prescription medications just to numb the psychological behaviors that were bred from the abuse and neglect he endured in his biological home. It is unfortunate that no foster home is educated enough to help him so he doesn’t live with a family.

It is unfortunate that a 6 year old asks to sleep with a curtain locked around her bed because she sees and hears the evil people from the movies she watched with her parents. And, those same people say mean things to her when she’s really quiet. And, when she closes her eyes, all she sees is a dead naked woman lying in the bathtub with blood all over her body.

It is unfortunate that any child was kept up all night for 7 years of her life because her parents were intoxicated to the point of screaming and yelling at each other all night long while having fist fights with the neighbors. It is unfortunate that the same child wonders what happened to the baby she felt moving in her mommy’s stomach.

It is unfortunate that nothing happened when a child flipped on the light switch because the bills hadn’t been paid due to every last dollar going to support her parents’ habits.

It is unfortunate that a child didn’t know when his next meal was coming, so food hoarding is an issue in his life so much so that he eats until he vomits.

It is unfortunate that any child’s dad rinsed the lice out of her hair, but she didn’t bathe any other time.

It is unfortunate that a child through tear filled eyes watched her mommy get arrested and wasn’t able to give her a hug because she had on handcuffs. And, the child stood frozen from confusion.

It is unfortunate that a child had to walk everywhere she went sometimes even barefoot in the freezing rain because her parents have their licenses suspended.

It is unfortunate that a child suffers from reactive attachment disorder and what seems like oppositional defiant disorder because the only human contact that she has ever felt has been hurtful. It is unfortunate that PTSD is even a medical diagnosis for a child.

It is unfortunate that a child self soothes in very inappropriate ways just to cope from all the abuse and neglect he has endured in his short little life.

It is unfortunate that any child sees monsters all around her because her parents called the dead into her home and told her they were hovering over her body.

It is a shame that every single day babies withdrawl from multiple types of drugs and alcohol and suffer from lifelong effects because their moms are addicts.

It’s a tragedy that one mom was not only addicted during her 5th pregnancy but most likely her 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th pregnancies. It is unfortunate that the 5th baby had withdrawls for four long months after his birth and nearly died because of it. It is unfortunate at 3 years old his adoptive parents struggle to keep him healthy because he nearly chokes every day as he violently coughs.

Yes! All of these situations are unfortunate. But, the graveness doesn’t stop at the abuse and neglect. It continues as the child is thrown into an unfortunate system. A system that expects foster parents and the children to act like nothing ever happened to them. It is unfortunate that foster parents are expected to hide their feelings and not let any of the above mentioned things bother them. It is unfortunate that foster parents don’t have a voice. It is unfortunate that most always the children are silenced.

It is unfortunate that the kids are silenced so much that they get moved 4 times before ending up where they should have been in the first place because the system hid things about their past. It is unfortunate that those in charge don’t always admit how the system’s standards damages these children even more, or maybe they do. Maybe just maybe the ones who have to work in the system can’t do a thing about it. Maybe a broken system has made them silent and numb and construed their views to believe something that’s not true. This system will chew you up, swallow you, and vomit you back up again all the while expecting you to put your game face on. Maybe that’s why so many foster parents and social workers quit.

But, there is hope. God is bigger than any broken system.

These children should not live in fear of being put out on the streets because we lack foster homes in America. There aren’t enough people stepping up to help these hurting children who have been tainted by the ones who were supposed to love and protect them the most. There are siblings separated because foster homes are so full they can only take one or two more kids at a time.

Don’t get me wrong, as foster parents, we want to throw in the towel many times – sometimes daily. We long for a normal, stress free life, and so do the kids! It is a challege listening to the awful, unfortunate abuse and neglect these children have been through. It’s just as difficult to watch their biological parents make poor choices day after day. God doesn’t want a family divided. That’s not His initial plan, but sometimes He has to step in when life threatening choices from first families are made. Yes, it’s tragic but also a reality.

A reality that hurts the children the most. And then, it’s a punch in the gut when court dates roll around and everyone is so eager for something good to happen for these innocent kids only to hear so many lies being spoken to down play the abuse and neglect handed to them. These children are handled like a number in our courts. Changes need to be made! Some how… some way…

Hearing all of the unfortunate issues of abuse and neglect and a broken system might just make you think that foster care couldn’t ever be for you. But, have you asked God? Is God calling you to step up and help? Christians, God calls born again believers to help the orphan. Don’t be afraid to do what these children need. I understand how frightening it is! I live it every single second of every single day.

Will every child who enters your home be the right fit? No! Will some of them have to move? Yes! Will you carry that guilt with you every day? Trust me, you will question your decision. But, God removes that guilt. His all knowing power gets foster parents walking with Him through the trauma that is brought into their homes. Being a foster parent will bring anxiety, hurt, trauma, and guilt. You will feel like you’ve messed up time and time again because trauma breeds trauma.

This foster parenting stuff is one of the most difficult things that hopefully you and I will ever do! Parenting kids who have been traumatized their whole lives is not an easy task! But the ONE who has called you to the journey will hold your hand every step of the way. He is ABLE and the kids that enter your home are so worth it.

So, don’t worry about making mistakes and failing miserably because you will. The enemy will always whisper that you aren’t good enough and that you are not cut out for the job of helping kids from hard places, but God’s bigger voice says to dust yourself off and walk in His ways. These children need you!

Their parents also need our love and prayers. Sometimes that’s all we can offer them, but prayer is enough. Prayer is powerful. God wants them to walk in His obedience. We have to show them Christ’s love. He died for them as well as for you and me. He is a chain breaker!

Not every family will be reunited. Not every family can be due to the severity of the situation. He places orphans in families. Families He has chosen. But, God can heal broken families in His timing!

God will protect you and His children. His ways, even if we don’t always understand them, are perfect. Even if we think a decision made from a broken system is not the right one, God knows why. We have to leave all of those details in His hands. He fights the battles of His children! While we wait for much needed changes in our foster care system, we just have to trust Him!

So, if you feel led, take the next step! If God has asked you to, just do it! Sign up to be a foster parent. Take the classes. Don’t wait. There’s too much at stake. Even if you are afraid, these children need you, but most importantly, they need Christ. They are our future.

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